17 Aug Shrive Out at Sewer Authority, Headed to University
Controversial solicitor Jason Shrive has resigned his position as Executive Director of the Scranton Sewer Authority to take a job at the University of Scranton. Shrive, a longtime Lackawanna County Democratic operative and staunch ally of Mayor Bill Courtright, has been criticized by lawmakers, candidates, and citizens for his role in the sale of the sewer authority and subsequent appointment to lead the authority – which had no employees other than him.
Shrive became something of a campaign issue in the 2017 mayor race between Democratic incumbent Courtright and Republican challenger Jim Mulligan. While Courtright narrowly prevailed in the November election, Mulligan made the sale of city assets a centerpiece of his campaign. Shrive then served as the city’s solicitor and rebuffed Mulligan’s charge that $3.1 million in attorney fees in the $195 million sale to Pennsylvania American Water Company was excessive.
Councilman Bill Gaughan also questioned the huge payday for the attorneys. He said, “The lawyers and consultants made out like bandits.” Following the sale, when Shrive resigned to take the $130,000 a year post leading a sewer authority with no employees, Gaughan called the action a “blatant cash grab.”
At the time, Shrive dismissed Gaughan’s statement. He told a Times-Tribune reporter, “It’s election season and I think that it is just another opportunity for Councilman Gaughan, who has been an opponent of the mayor throughout his term, to attack the mayor for political purposes.”
One source cautioned that this is not the end of Shrive’s involvement in city politics. He remains close to Mayor Courtright and while he may have to surrender his first floor office in City Hall, his new digs are only a one block walk from Courthouse Square. He joins the University’s Department of Criminal Justice as an assistant professor.